“Bubblegum Crisis” created by Kenichi Sonoda.
"Drunkard's Walk II: Robot's Rules of Order" created by Bob Schroeck.
Neither of these gentlemen should bear any blame for what follows.
Dedication: Bob, of course. If he were not so generously accommodating of
amateur attempts to play in his sandbox, I probably never would have written
Also, his inestimable wife Peggy, without whom Bob would be well on his way to becoming a major anime supervillain and ruling the world. I'm given to understand I make her laugh. Go figure.
(Narration voice: Peter Cullen (in his “Optimus Prime” voice))
It has been slightly more than a decade since The Year of the Loon. In that time, MegaTokyo and the world it inhabits have changed a great deal. For the better, in many ways, but great change always brings with it great challenges. And, as James Douglas Quincy imperfectly foresaw, great challenges encourage the rising of great heroes.
Of course, “great” and “strange” are not mutually exclusive, as the Loon himself proved....
The year is 2048, and MegaTokyo is about to experience:
a “Drunkard's Walk II” omake spamfic
History's nearly pathological need to repeat itself, Leon decided as he dove for cover, was beginning to get really old.
Being back in MegaTokyo wasn't the problem. Finding himself adopting many of Todo's behaviors along with the old man's job was mildly disturbing, but not without its uses. Having Daley as his right-hand man again was downright pleasant.
No. Those weren't the problem. Huddling behind the rapidly-eroding cover of an ADP Interceptor while a heavily-armed psychotic construct hosed down the entire intersection with arbitrary amounts of firepower, now, -that- was a problem.
Daley's thoughts were obviously trending in the same direction. “Brings back memories, doesn't it?” he quipped. The mangled remains of their car groaned and settled closer to the pavement as something in the suspension was shot through, as if to punctuate his words.
“Oh, yeah,” Leon grunted. Unwilling to stick his head out, he tried to make sense of what he could see reflected in the glass wall of the office building at their backs. “Memories of being too young and cocky, or too damn crazy, to worry about dying in shitty shootouts like this. I miss those days.”
“Hell, no.” Giving up on his ersatz periscope, Leon went flat and tried to look under the car. Unfortunately, the sight angles were all wrong for him to see anything useful. He eyeballed what he could see of the intersection without raising his head into the perp's firing lane. The good news was, the containment field cast by the Emergency Reaction Team's mages seemed to be holding everything in. The bad news was that “everything” included Daley, Leon, and the ERT, who lacked sufficient firepower to take down the chimerical bioroid they faced.
“I told you we shouldn't have responded to this call,” Daley said reproachfully. “Even if we were just a block away. We're supposed to sit in nice, climate-controlled offices and order hot young studs to catch this kind of heat. Leon-chan, if Roy ends up a widow over this, I'm going to be quite put out with you.”
Leon slanted a glare in his direction, then risked a quick peek over the trunk as the hybrid magitech creature turned its fire in the direction of the ERT van across the intersection. “I don't know where Special Weapons is, but if they don't get here soon, all this random fire is going to start wiping out the buildings once the containment field falls. Those ERT guys can't keep it up too much longer.”
On cue, the faint “in a bubble” sensation of the containment field wavered for a moment, then firmed back up. There was a shout, and suddenly a blue 55C in ADP livery catapulted over the top of the ERT van, triggering his jump jets, popping his skinsheath, and firing his mouth laser all in one combined motion.
The brilliant beam struck a ripple in the air surrounding the chimera and almost seemed to pause for a moment. Leon groaned as the energy lance diffused into a sort of fog that rolled over the chimera's outer shell and skin, crisping and burning but doing little substantial damage. “Dammit, that thing's got a Loon Field. I was hoping it was just armored.”
“What, and rob the great Leon-sama of his chance to face a worthy opponent?” Daley quipped from where he was peeking over the hood. As they watched, the 55C began bouncing around the hulking chimera like a tennis ball on amphetamines, firing and moving like something out of a Hong Kong wuxia flick.
“Is that Brogard?”
“No, I think it's Saotome.” Leon reached under his jacket and drew his Earthshaker from its shoulder holster. Daley watched, wide-eyed.
“Leon, I hate to tell you this, but you're not going to do much with that beyond attract its attention.”
Leon looked him in the eye and smiled, even as his hands kept moving of their own accord, opening the massive revolver and dumping the thumb-sized shells onto the pavement. Daley shivered at the sight. That was Leon-chan's smile from the old days, the one that he still fantasized about once in a rare while, the one that presaged risk-taking, and ass-kicking, and all sorts of wild and crazy things...
He started as he saw the speedloader Leon was slapping into the Earthshaker. “Leon, are those--?”
The Smile widened. “Yep. Gift from Priss – she had Sylia and Lisa-chan make 'em up special. Twenty layers, DU core, internal ward carvings, blessed silver, the works.”
He snapped the gun shut with a flick of one wrist while his free hand snagged his shades out of his jacket pocket. Daley held his tongue, knowing that Leon was sensitive about needing prescription lenses for shooting these days.
Before Leon had the glasses in place, there was a crack like a home run hit at GENOM Stadium, and a metallic blue body shot past ten meters away and five meters up, doing about 80kph and trailing blue bits and orange blood. The ADP officer smacked into the containment field hard and hung there for a moment. Then there was a sudden 'popping' sensation in Daley's ears, and Saotome hit the sidewalk with an unpleasant crunch.
“THAT tears it!” Leon popped up from behind the car, slapping his shades into place with his free hand. His first shot, offhand, left a glowing tunnel through the chimera's “Loon field” and caught it high in shoulder. The next two, aimed with both hands, struck head and center of mass squarely. The chimera staggered, fell to one knee... and began struggling back to its feet, despite the massive wounds.
Leon dropped back behind cover with a curse, digging for his standard rounds as Daley leaned out around the front bumper and began spraying the chimera with his P-98.
“Remember the good old days when they died when you shot them?” he commented in between bursts. “And just so you know, it's coming this way.”
Leon flinched as a return burst tried to saw through the car's Abotex/Polykev armor, and flipped the Earthshaker closed again. “Make a note – I want my car to carry a blessed antiarmor missile in the trunk at all times.”
“Noted!” Daley caroled with gallows cheer. A rattle of automatic fire confirmed that the remaining ERT members were adding their harassing fire to the mix, and Leon stood up again, drawing a bead on the oncoming chimera. With luck, its defenses would be weak enough now to--
The stentorian voice was accompanied by a wave of what felt like magic. Leon felt his eyes compelled away from the chimera and towards the dining area atop the roof of a small cafe fronting on the intersection--
--where stood a feminine figure in white armor with long golden ribbons trailing from spherical housings on each side of the helmet.
“Lisa-chan?” he heard Daley mumble in confusion.
“Magic and boomers and humans were meant to work together in harmony for the betterment of all,” the armored figure orated grandly, gesticulating in what was apparently intended to be dramatic fashion. “Not to be perverted into a shambling techno-necromantic horror like you! I am the lovely hardsuited warrior for Love and Justice, SABER MOON, and I will triumph over monsters and destroy evil! And that means YOU,” she added, coming to point like a hunting dog.
“No,” Leon said, still unable to tear his eyes away. “Even Lisa-chan's never that silly.”
“And don't forget the lovely (and sexy) SABER VENUS!” interjected another voice. Leon and Daley, suddenly finding their eyes free, looked anyway to see another figure in similar armor, the color of orange sherbet and lacking the ribbons, standing on another adjoining roof. The chimera shambled about to face the new threat, listing heavily and gurgling through what was left of its jaw.
“And SABER MARS!”
“um, do i have to-- um, SABER MERcureeeek!”
“It's all the Inner Senshi,” Leon mumbled in shock.
Even the current surreality was insufficient to quash Daley's sense of humor. “So, when did you become a Magical Girl fan, eh Leon-chan?”
“I have a daughter,” Leon replied automatically, as if that explained everything – which, Daley mused, it more-or-less did.
“Our Frankensteinian friend seems to have been sent into a tizzy,” he pointed out. In fact, the chimera was still spinning in place with a slow limp, as if it had forgotten to stop. Which was probably a good thing, seeing as how himself, Leon, Saotome, and the ERT crew were all sitting ducks.
“SABER SENSHI,” the white-armored figure shouted, striking another dramatic pose. “ATTACK!”
The next thirty seconds presented Leon and Daley with what was probably the silliest mortal combat they had (or would) ever witness.
“She uses those ribbons just like Linna.”
“Yup. Say, does Mercury seem a bit... klutzy?”
“Never seen a hardsuit faceplant before. Oooh, that's gotta smart!”
“Ugh, that smells terrible! But I suppose incineration is a good way to make sure it can't recover.”
“Leon, do any of these girls seem... familiar, to you?”
“...yeah. Moon moves kind of like Linna, and she's got Sylia's colors, but something about the way she talks... I can't put my finger on it.”
In front of them, Saber Moon landed next to the pile of smoldering ash facing the other way and struck a “victory” pose – one hand making the “V” overhead, the other propped on one hip. Leon had seen that exact pose before... and suddenly several things came together in his head with an audible click.
He was around the rear end of his wrecked Interceptor and storming towards the clustered “Saber Senshi” like an earthquake before he was entirely aware of moving, the Earthshaker dangling forgotten in one hand. With his eyes fixed on “Saber Moon,” he failed to notice “Mercury” notice him and make a hasty arcane gesture in his direction.
“Saber Moon” flinched and spun around, dropping the “victory” pose. “D-daddy?” she squeaked faintly.
Mindful that Leon's Earthshaker was still loaded, Daley committed an extreme act of will and somehow managed to master his sudden need to fall down laughing hysterically. “Ah, MegaTokyo,” he murmured. “Never a dull moment....
No, this wasn't intended to be serious. Despite the fact that now my muse keeps throwing pieces of scenes from 'what would happen next' at me from the safety of my hindbrain. The worldbuilding is rather cursory, but there -are- some reasons for things that couldn't be explained in-text. So what the heck, I'll cheat and try to anticipate the most likely audience questions/objections:
Why not? He gives great voiceover.
“The Year of the Loon?”
Hey, c'mon. Somebody's going to call it that, eventually.
Well, with GENOM now playing by the rules, there had to be some new badguy for the ADP to face. Without rigorously working out the details, I'd say that “chimera” is a generic term used for constructs cobbled together using necromancy, boomer parts, and biological components.
“Mages and Boomers in the ADP?”
Welllll... ten years is probably telescoping the timeframe, but I really needed Jennifer to be a teenager still. If I had to justify it, I'd say that an exploding population of mages, combined with the violent upheavals of the Boomer Enlightenment, could have squeezed the MegaTokyo government (with some behind-the-scenes pushing from Kate and Sylia, probably) into signing up those individuals who wanted to serve as a counterweight to their less civic-inclined fellows. It would make for some interesting ramifications if MegaTokyo, out of necessity, started treating these people as de facto citizens (as opposed to anomalies) even if the federal-level Japanese government didn't....
“Yeah, but what about the containment field?”
I'm assuming that magic is still a pretty new and imperfect science, even with the teaching materials given Sylia. Given that the ERTs need large numbers of mages, they're probably going to be stuck with “few-trick ponies” -- relatively low-end metatalents that do only a few things, but are drilled into doing those things well. The ERT's job is just to contain a threat until a properly equipped unit can show up to handle the heavy lifting. The ADP is a lot better equipped, and a lot less hamstrung, than it used to be, but you can still only have so many heavy weapons squads available.
A generic catchphrase used in the ADP to describe shields that don't act like Star Trek style shields. Coined by ADP officers who watched tapes of Doug's battles.
Hey, if a bunch of newly-freewill boomers can choose names from Zodiac constellations, eventually some of them are going to turn out to be anime fans. It's inevitable.
“Felt like magic?”
After enough exposure, I'll bet even the densest non-mage will develop some sense of what it feels like when it bites them.
“But what about Leon's ammo?”
I'm envisioning bullets made out of many layers, precision machined out of different materials, with warding symbols carved on the insides so as to keep them intact.
Hey, I can not be the first person to think of this.
“But Leon blew Jenny's cover!”
Nope. Remember that “arcane gesture” Mercury made? I couldn't find a smooth way to include in in-story, but (being the smart one) she recognized that something bad was about to happen, and cast a spell to keep any shouting from being heard further away than Daley happened to be standing.
“Boomers can use magic?”
Why not? Not that all the Saber Senshi are necessarily boomers, of course. If I were to continue this, I suppose I'd have to come up with ID's and backstories for them all...